Transitioning from military to civilian life? Here are 7 essential tips to help you translate your military experience into civilian language on your CV.
When transitioning from military to civilian life, one of the most important tasks is to translate military experience into civilian language for your resume. Military jargon and acronyms can be confusing to those outside the military, and it's crucial to showcase your skills and experiences in a way that resonates with civilian employers.
In this article, the experts at the RSL Veterans’ Employment Program share their tips to help you translate your military experience for your civilian CV.
Use civilian terms
While military jargon might be second nature to you, it can be confusing for employers who are not familiar with military terminology. Avoid using acronyms or military-specific terms, and instead, use civilian language that is easy to understand. For example, instead of using the term "POV," use the term "personal vehicle" or "car."
Emphasise skills and accomplishments
Military experience can provide valuable skills that are highly sought after in the civilian workforce. Make sure to emphasise your skills and accomplishments on your CV. Use specific examples of how you applied your skills in your military role and how they can transfer to a civilian job. Highlight your leadership skills, teamwork, problem-solving abilities, and attention to detail.
Use specific examples
Provide specific examples of how you demonstrated leadership, teamwork, and problem-solving skills in your military role. For example, if you were responsible for leading a team during a mission, provide specific details about how you managed the team and achieved the mission's goals. If you were responsible for maintaining equipment, provide examples of how you ensured that the equipment was in good working condition and how you prevented problems before they occurred.
Employers love to see concrete achievements, and quantifying your accomplishments can help you stand out from other candidates. Use numbers to showcase your achievements, such as how many people you supervised, how much equipment you were responsible for, or how many missions you completed. Quantifying your achievements can help employers understand the scope of your responsibilities and the impact you had in your military role.
For tips on using numbers in your CV, check out this article.
Highlight transferable skills
One of the most critical aspects of translating military experience for a civilian CV is highlighting transferable skills. Many of the skills you gained in the military, such as leadership, teamwork, and problem-solving, can be applied to civilian roles. Make sure to emphasise how your military experience has prepared you for a civilian job and how your skills can transfer to a new role.
Tailor your CV to the job
When applying for civilian jobs, it's essential to tailor your CV to the specific job you're applying for. Look at the job description and identify the skills and experiences that the employer is looking for. Make sure to highlight how your military experience aligns with the job requirements and how your skills can contribute to the organisation's success.
Finally, seek feedback from people who are outside the military. Ask friends or family members who are not familiar with military terminology to review your CV and provide feedback. This can help you identify areas where you need to simplify your language or provide more detail about your accomplishments.
Translating military experience for a civilian CV can be a challenging task, but it's essential to showcase your skills and experiences in a way that resonates with civilian employers. Use civilian terms, emphasize your skills and accomplishments, provide specific examples, quantify your achievements, highlight transferable skills, tailor your CV to the job, and seek feedback. By following these tips, you can create a compelling CV that showcases your military experience and positions you for success in a civilian role.
The RSL Veterans’ Employment Program can help
Need a hand translating your military experience for your CV? Reach out to the RSL Veterans’ Employment Program today. We offer free, one-on-one career coaching to veterans, their partners, and their immediate family members. Make your move today!